City Looks at Contracting With Consultant for Economic Development

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak City Council is hiring on professional guidance in the area of economic development.

At Tuesday’s council work session, city manager Aimée Kniaziowski explained the city had a similar resource a couple of years ago and is now considering a contract with a consultant in Anchorage.

Kniaziowski said city staff deals with economic matters, but it’s useful to have someone who can pull up relevant information.

“I’ve really struggled with how many jobs were created. I have to that EDA grant reporting and it’s very difficult to find out how many jobs were created because of that shipyard, and it fluctuates, so it’ll just be great to have some sort of a framework that we can develop.”

At the work session, the city council and city staff sat down with Wanetta Ayers, who said she spoke with most of the city council members and some broad themes became clear.

“There is [a] strong sense that some of those investments in community infrastructure and in the harbor, the waterfront, those kind of investments, maybe haven’t been fully leveraged by marketing those assets and that the community has a strong name recognition and a strong position in the fishing industry. And with tourism. And perhaps more needs to be done to capitalize on those investments.”

She said the city also wants to maintain current business in town and encourage new business, which falls into the area of marketing and attracting entrepreneurs.

Ayers said city staff and the city council need to look at economic performance on a regular basis and decide what numbers matter. They should then have a regular check-in about what those numbers mean and where they’re going.

She said council members have expressed that they want to see results in the short-term as they work on long-term goals, and she suggested ways to do that.

“Incorporate economic analysis and discussion at least biannually in your council processes, develop a long-term strategy and action plan and looking for a couple of short-term actions that will, I think, satisfy you that you are moving forward, that you’re taking some action that will be beneficial to the community.”

Ayers will write another report and present it to the council so that it can make its decision. The city council is scheduled to hold a regular meeting tonight in the assembly chambers at 7:30 p.m. and airing live on KMXT. However, economic development is not on that agenda.

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